Category: Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is has evolved over time and originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. It encompasses acupuncture, tai chi, qi gong, tui na, dietary therapy, and other herbal approaches to medicine. TCM is primarily used as complementary to Western approaches to healthcare.
TCM is based on the following beliefs:
– The human body is a miniature version of the larger, surrounding universe.
– Harmony between two opposing yet complementary forces, called yin and yang, supports health, and disease results from an imbalance between these forces.
– Five elements—fire, earth, wood, metal, and water—symbolically represent all phenomena, including the stages of human life, and explain the functioning of the body and how it changes during disease.
– Qi, a vital energy that flows through the body, performs multiple functions in maintaining health.
It is estimated that in 1997, about 10,000 practitioners served more than 1 million people each year and this number is continually growing. In a 2007 NHIS survey, about 2.3 million Americans practiced tai chi and 600,000 practiced qi gong in the previous year.
One example of TCM effectiveness is that tai chi may be beneficial in improving balance and stability in people with Parkinson’s disease, reduce pain from knee osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia and promote quality of life and mood in people with heart failure. Tai chi and qi gong are considered generally safe practices.
 “Traditional Chinese Medicine: An Introduction,” NCCIH, accessed August 23, 2015, https://nccih.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/chinesemed.htm.